24 February 2013

Cooking with Bruce: Red kidney bean daal

I found this one in an Aussie vege food magazine, but I've edited things a bit. Mainly as I see no reason at all to buy raw lentils and kidney beans, and cook the bastards for days on end to make them (slightly) softer. So buy them precooked. It just makes sense.

One thing that kinda pisses me off about being [mostly] vegetarian is the expectation that you love lentils. In general, I hate lentils. They're boring, generally poorly cooked, and have only been interesting here (note the Rush t-shirt!):

Red Kidney bean daal
packet/tin red kidney beans 250-300gm (ish)
packet/tin lentils 250-300gm (ish)
1T chilli flakes
1T coriander powder
thumb size grated fresh ginger
3 cloves garlic finely chopped
1 stick of cinnamon
10 cloves
1t cardamon
250gm [ish] of chopped tomato
50-60gm unsalted butter
75ml cream

Drain and rinse beans, add chilli, coriander, ginger, garlic, cinnamon, cloves, cardamon and tomato and slow cook over a low heat for an hour (I guess...). If it gets dry, add water. stir occasionally. Add cream and butter and cook for 10-15mins stirring occasionally, remove the cinnamon stick. Serve over rice, naan, or other stuff.

btw: for the girls-blouses out there, I'd suggest pulling the chilli down (this probably applies to most of England too, given what I've had described as 'hot', pah!).

Love, B

Cooking with Bruce: Cupcakes

I know, it's all a bit trendy. Sorry.
I was wandering into town yesterday and came up with, hey I've got spare pomegranate seeds (as you do) and some limes. Those would work well together.

As usual, these measurements are guesses..but you can use gluten free flour and they taste good.

60gm unsalted butter
2/3c caster sugar
egg (beaten)
2/3c flour  [gluten free, eg rice, is fine]
1t bicarb of soda
75ml (ish) sour cream
pomegranate seeds
zest of lime

Cream B + S; add egg and smack it around until fluffy, add everything else. Put into either paper cases or greased muffin tin, cook for 20 mins at 180C.


19 February 2013

Mea Maxima Culpa - the movie, and a rant

I’ve spent a portion of my Saturday watching a documentary on catholic priest child abuse. There's a dearth of good docos in Loughborough, the local cineplex catering for the masses, so rather than wait for curzon on demand, I wandered along to Mea Maxima Culpa.

A harrowing exploration of the systematic abuse of deaf children at a Catholic school for the deaf in Milwaukee, specifically by Fr. Murphy.
It was a legal challenge relating to this abuse by Fr. Murphy that led to the uncovering of the Irish child abuse scandals, and realization that the church had known of them for a long period of time. Interestingly a line in the movie suggested the church has documents of abuse stretching back to the 4th century. Their response to allegations appeared rooted in an older age, hide, deny, attack, and never admit. Although the church refused to offer their viewpoint to the documentary, it is unlikely to directly contradict evidence from a former (bishop??) who  at least was concerned by the impact on the victims - something rare by the evidence presented. Sadly he was undone in the eyes of the church by his admission of homosexuality, even though his was a relationship with an adult with no suggestion of impropriety.

No-one in the holy see came out of this looking good, and if even half of what was alleged to be known is true, then Pope JP and Bene appear highly complicit in the coverup.

Here's the trailer:

But it got me thinking. I'm not saying atheism is the correct choice for everyone, but one thing it does do is encourage criticism, whereas organised religion places certain individuals in positions of absolute power. And that seems wrong to me. No one is infallible, failure is the one constant in humans. But a continued mantra of priests are better than lay members offered an opportunity to abuse on a grand scale.
There was some effort at redemption by the group, but I was struck at how it appeared a self help/anonymous group. An argument was advanced that the litigants (remember this was America) were trying to reclaim the church for the people, an interesting humanist perspective.
Complicating matters is the legal position of Vatican city and its position as a state -an invention by Mussolini for support of his fascist party. Fascinating stuff.

So what should they do? Well transparency would be nice, but is unlikely to happen. A truth and reconciliation commission?? Could be a start. Indict pope bene - couldn't hurt. It would be nice to wake people up to the realization that papal infallibility is as real as political integrity.

One glaring point not explored was the stupidity of not enforcing the separation of church and state. I don't want to go all socialist on you, but separating the two helps critical thought. Which is why I am completely against faith based schools and academies. How can you teach critical thought if you are having to teach it with the understanding that Jesus was conceived by a virgin birth, or that Mohammed was the last prophet of god. Ridiculous.
It’s very hard to teach evolution if your default answer is ‘god did it’. For one thing, it prevents a full understanding of the complex issues of DNA change and subsequent inheritance.

I’m not against Michael Gove’s restructuring of the education system here, some of the monkeys I’ve had to deal with certainly argue that it needs it (no more so than in NZ tho’). But allowing academy’s to be faith based schools seems will produce a herd of non-critical, blind, and indoctrinated faith fodder. How, and I ask this in all seriousness, can a faith school of actively teach an intelligent and rational critique of another denomination - given they’re historically so loving and caring.

Aside from my rant, the movie was excellent. Go see it.


9 February 2013

6 nation week 2

Pah. Stupid pointless exercise picking anything.

Wales look crap, and they've lost their captain for this week. Ireland looked better than expected with B O'D, and England looked quite good. And that really hurts saying.

So this week, pointless as it may be.

Scotland v Italy : Should be close this one. I'd like to back Scotland, but given Italy's effort last week? A draw would be good, but in a fit of stupidity, Scotland by 5.

Wales v France : France should have this. But again, could be very very close. France by 3.

England v Ireland : England by 12. I don't think Ireland can deliver again.

2 February 2013

6 nations and Art Gallery surprises!

News articles 

Art Gallery is unwitting host to treasure hunt I love this. I suspect it's all a hoax, but cool way to get people to a gallery - especially as the gallery has no idea...

6 nations preview

And so the roller coaster of northern hemisphere rugby rolls around, the 6 nations kicks off today. The English are, as usual, crowing about how good they'll be this season, based on their win over the all blacks. All of the other losses last year appear to have faded into obscurity, the win over the world champions is all that counts.
Wales are looking like they'll have to draft in shane howarth's legendary grandmother, probably at prop.
Scotland will once again be strong contenders to win the championship…oh who am i kidding, but at least their new coach appears to have a sense of humour.
Italy will pick up a win somewhere, and generally challenge more than expected.
Ireland, if they continue how they played at the world cup, and last 6 nations, are bereft of ideas and could, given their injuries, come near the end.
France is also rebuilding, a polite way of saying they're as disorganised and confusing as ever.

So my picks? 1) France / Scotland (evidence I'm on drugs) 2) England 3) Wales 4) Scotland 5) Italy 6) Ireland.

Todays games:
Wales v Ireland Quite an interesting game, Wales are stripped of players and seem to be suffering a crisis in their rugby support structure. Ireland are boring. Wales by 6.

England v Scotland Damn I'd like the Scots to shove one up the English. Realistically I'm not hopeful. England by 12.  [drug prediction: Scotland by 3]

Italy v France Italy will be leading halftime, France by 15 at full-time.